Friday, February 27, 2009

With Baited Breath . . .

My sweet husband calls this "The Holding Pattern." "Circling the runway."
Fairly accurate, I believe. After all, I am beginning to feel rather like a passenger jet.

I am still waiting for my daughter.

I remember feeling similar to this with Caleb . . . though, not quite so, "enough already . . ."

Where as with Caleb, even at 42 weeks (yes, my son was two weeks overdue) I still was able to maintain that giddy-excited feeling, this time I am simply done. Not that I am not excited—I am! I can't wait to meet this child, to hold her, to kiss her tiny rosebud lips, smell her skin and her hair, to hold her tiny but substantial weight against my chest . . . I can't wait for this . . . but tonight—at 12:34am as I sit here at my computer, unable to sleep once again due to the contractions that never get any closer than eight minutes apart—tonight, I am simply tired.

I know it has a lot to do with the bed rest experience . . . believing that after I ceased taking the required meds that kept this baby inside when she tried to come far too early, after I resumed normal activity following a month of bed rest, she would come—perhaps immediately! Obviously, such was not to be the case. And so I feel as though I've been in labor for the past eight weeks . . . which may actually be the case!

I shoveled the driveway this morning . . . after going to the gym . . . and doing three loads of laundry (carrying each basket up and down two flights of stairs for good measure). Surely this would have an affect, I told myself. And it should have, save for one thing: it is not time.

I ran into a dear friend of mine at the grocery store tonight and after the sympathetic greeting and the "Yes, I'm still pregnant" acknowledgement, she reminded me that my Heavenly Father has already ordained the day and time of this child's birth—even as He ordained my own. "She will come at exactly the right time," said my friend. And she is right.

No amount of gym sweat, snow shoveling, laundry, repetitive floor scrubbing, or spicy food will make this child come any more quickly. She will come at exactly the right time—the time ordained.

And until then, I will continue to wait with baited breath, to count contractions, and to anticipate that first kiss, that first sweet breath— my first look at my daughter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saving My Memory

*Lest anyone jump to conclusions, this photo is of Caleb and I, our first day home from the hospital nearly two years ago now*

I woke up this morning with the most bizarre, panicked feeling rising in my chest, just before I opened my eyes to face my day. The thought suddenly occurred to me that I have hundreds of photos of Caleb (seriously, hundreds) in digital format saved on both my computer and a separate hard drive, and almost none in a format I can readily access—much less share with my son.

Why this made me panic is still a little fuzzy, but I think it has something to do with the realization that my memories are fading. And in light of welcoming a new baby into our lives, the specific and clear memories I have of Caleb's baby-hood will become less and less sharp against the backdrop of all the newness. The last thing I want to do is find myself wondering . . . Did Caleb do that too? What did Caleb look like at this age? Was Caleb eating this . . . playing with that . . .talking this way . . .? I already struggle remembering some of those details as my son progressed through life that first year, and some of the second for that matter. Fortunately, I kept a little notebook where I wrote down such details as:
• First Smile: Three weeks
• Rolling over: Four weeks (front to back)
• Reaching for toys: Five weeks
• Sleeping through the night: Six weeks
• 7-9 Months: Says "bla-bla-bla" "pa-pa" and "Mmmmm" (in relation to food he enjoys).
• 8 Months: Sits up independently
• Began crawling on 7/17/07 (ten months of age)
Such details are really only important to me, and I know that part of the reason I wrote the above (and much more) down, was because I am so very aware of how slippery my mind can be.

But what to do with that information . . . and all those pictures? Especially now that I will be adding hundreds more of this new baby to the already massive collection? (These were my early-morning pre-coffee thoughts).
At least Caleb's photos were organized my month . . .

So I started searching this afternoon for a solution.
I wanted to create something that I could share with Caleb—which meant it had to be physical (not virtual, as in this blog). It had to accommodate pictures and text, as I wanted to put all my notes in one place (other than a quickly-decaying little notebook).

And so now I have started creating a photo book—an upgraded photo album. Nothing fancy, nothing crazy or overly-involved. . . But a great project none-the-less. And when finished, I will have a book that contains all the important stuff—the pictures and the notes . . . my memories—so my overly full and tired brain will have one less thing to try and contain.

What fun I have had this afternoon journeying back through time . . . re-living Caleb's birth, those first few days at home as a new mom, and the following weeks and months that turned me into the person I am still desperately trying to become:
A good mother . . . patient, kind, attentive, consistent, and desperately in love with her children. . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

Listening For Spring

I'm a country girl in the spring. (The rest of the year I really appreciate being only a short jog from the grocery store, Home Depot, and the local movie-rental place).

There is something about opening your back door (when you live in the country, as I no longer do), and hearing nothing. No car horns, no passing traffic, no intense train noises, no fighting neighbors . . . just quiet. And in the spring (and by spring I mean February through May), the quiet is amazing because it is so full.

I grew up in the country and as much as I despise the length of Minnesota winters, come February, I fall in love with this bitter north country all over again. February marks the official beginning of spring. Not by the calender—spring equinox doesn't arrive until the third week in March. But in February, things start happening.

I used to stand just outside the back door in the quiet of February nights when I lived outside city limits, and hold my breath, listening. The quiet absorbed the sound of my heart beating and the wind catching the naked trees, rattling them against each other. Finally the sound I was waiting for would boom across the wide stretch of open field behind my childhood home . . . "Hoooooo. Hooo, hoo, hoo- hooooooo . . ." A Great Horned owl. And then another answering back. It was only then that I would release my held breath in a single stream and grin. It was official. Spring was here. The owls were nesting.

Here in town, I can't hear them. Good grief, I can barely hear myself! There is just too much noise, outside my house, inside my house, inside my head . . . But the other night, Caleb and I came home after dark, and tipping his little head back, he gazed up at the night sky and the few bright stars that managed to glimmer through the light pollution.

"Mommy," he said in wonder, "stars!" And I watched him staring up at them for a long time—knowing that this was the first time he had seen them, really seen them. And I tried to recall the last, first time I had noticed, really noticed anything for the first time.

I can't stand out my back door and hold my breath waiting for owls this spring, and I have not done so in quite some time now. But maybe someday I will be able to share that with my son . . . until that day I am doing my best to pay attention to even quieter sounds of life arriving . . . my unborn daughter's heartbeat, my son's quiet breathing as he sleeps, my husband's whistle as he shovels the driveway.

It's February, and here in town things are kind of ugly and cold . . . but spring is coming. I can hear it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Breakfast With The King

For those who are not well-acquainted with our family, or if you've not hung around us much, in say, the last three months, then the impact of "Cars" upon Caleb, and subsequently, all of us, might not be fully understood.

We live Cars.

They begin the day with us, coming out of the "garage" in Caleb's room (also known as the bookshelf), and accompanying us to breakfast where they share in whatever it is Caleb might be partaking. They accompany us to the grocery store, to Target, and everywhere in-between (except Church where they are restricted to the confines of the SUV until we return).

The collection began shortly after Caleb and Daddy watched Disney's "Cars," one Saturday morning, several months ago. Had we known the impact this small event would play on our son's life, we might have thought twice . . . Caleb and Daddy have now made "Cars" (the movie), and shopping for Cars (the di-cast models of all the movie characters) a regular part of their Saturday morning routine. (The above activities are preceded by breakfast at McDonald's.)

Mommy currently knows more about Cars than she does about almost anything . . .and yet, somehow I cannot bring myself to curb the obsession I see in Caleb. Partly because Daddy is enjoying it as much as his son, and partly because I know Caleb's derives his obsessive compulsive nature from me.

Drive on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feathered Nest

I am officially ready. (Physically . . . um, check that. My living quarters are physically ready).
The baby can now come—I hung the mirror in the nursery—the final act before her room was completed.

Feels pretty good!

Despite being confined to bed rest for a good part of January and February, this "essential" part of my nesting was completed!
A few notes on the little room . . . for the sake of sentiment:

• The mirror hanging above the changing table/dresser belonged to my grandmother, and was at one time painted gilt gold.

• The changing table/dresser was salved from a garage sale for $10; re-structured a bit with wood glue and some new screws in the joints; sanded and painted; hardware replaced; and drawers lined. (The changing table topper itself came from Pottery Barn and was my one splurge.)

• The little green table belonged to my great uncle and was a gift as I moved into my first apartment (prior to marriage and children.)

• The rocking chair was my Christmas gift from my sweet husband.

• The crib belonged to Caleb (and the teeth marks deeply etched into the inside rail are his not-so-subtle contribution to the decor and overall ambiance of the piece).

• The crib bedding I made myself. (And had I know how many sewing machine needles the bumper alone would decimate, I might have considered purchasing a set and making the bedding my second splurge.)

• The quote painted above the crib was discovered while shopping with my auntie, promptly copied down, and over the course of the last nine months (seriously, it took me that long), stenciled, traced, and hand-painted on the wall. (Never again).

Over the course of the last five-going-on-six years that Aaron and I have lived in the Red House, this little room has been transformed from guest bedroom to business office (the first location of RedHouseMedia, in fact); into nursery for Caleb, a guest bedroom once more, then the master bedroom, and now finally, a nursery again—as it will now stay for quite some time!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Finer Arts

Well, today I was brave. (A bit of a rare event these days . . . must be the pregnancy).

Caleb and I dug out the play dough and paints and we got down to the work of being extremely creative.

Despite the mess, I would say the experience was a grand success.

Caleb had a great time, managed to keep his artistic endeavors pretty much on his medium, and Mommy felt pretty good about the "learning" experience . . .

("Do you know what color this is, Caleb?" . . . "Can you tell Mommy what shape this is?") . . .

I am finding that some of my best days with Caleb are spent getting
messy, cuddling up with stories, and generally taking the time and making the effort to be an active participant in my son's play. Most often I am quite surprised at how much fun I end up having as well!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Flying Finn, 2.0

So, The Flying Finn, Version 1, dusted off his skates on Saturday and laced them up.

This time, the bleachers were empty (save for some little guy's grandma, and me—the VERY pregnant wife, mother, and videographer), and the team a little shorthanded . . . but what a cheering committee!

Aaron and I decided to spend Valentine's Day romancing our family, and what a blast!

I found the perfect pair of tiny hockey skates (Daddy was so relieved they were not figure skates), and the three of us walked hand-in-hand to the park and the little skating rink that awaited . . .

There, The Flying Finn, version 2.0 was born as Caleb stepped out onto the rink and dug his little blades into the ice (or tried).

Neither Aaron or myself are too keen on being "hockey parents," as we both grew up with plenty of rink-time under our belts, but for now, we decided that just getting Caleb on the ice was a pretty good idea . . . and by the look on the little guy's face, we are pretty sure he agreed!

First Stop: Labor please.

Caleb pressed his cheek to my tight, expansive belly last night and called in a loud voice—"Baby come out!" I was suddenly transported to Lazarus' tomb and half expected my water to break. No such luck.

Here I go again!

38 weeks pregnant today, with baby number two—a daughter!—and I can't believe I am about to do this all over again. Caleb and I cuddled on the couch this morning and read stories before the daily grind began, and I couldn't help stealing peeks at him from out of the corner of my eye to see if I could actually catch him in the act of growing. Wasn't it just a minute ago that I was pregnant with him?

He made us a trio, and now his baby sister will bring the count to four . . .
Hence the name of this blog.

I can't quite pin my finger on it, but my need to write (and thus blog) seems to take over on the brink of life changes. Perhaps it's my own comfortable way of "controlling" the uncontrollable . . . or a need to place the random events and activities of my sometimes-mundane life in a more attractive literary light . . . or just because I need a place to vent . . .

Regardless, here I am again.
So, (note to self) enjoy the ride and write it down—because you will blink and it will all have changed again . . .

"It's a Tractor."
(Belly art for the baby.)